If you're here, you're probably planning the AMAZING destination wedding of your dreams! My name is Janelle, and I've been photographing weddings and lifestyle portraits for over 10 years! (Wow, has it really been that long?!)
Throughout my career as a destination wedding photographer, I've had the opportunity to experience and work with many of the best destination wedding venues, destination wedding vendors, and the COOLEST clients. With the knowledge I've acquired, I've decided to take the time to offer you some free resources— regardless of whether you've chosen me to be your wedding photographer. This guide is my gift to couples in the process of planning their own unforgettable destination wedding.
It's important to note now that while these suggestions are a list with a few my favorite locations and planners who service each incredible destination, they 100% reflect my personal taste (which is obviously subjective). Every image you see in the grids below will direct you to a blog post I've written for that particular wedding planner or destination. These blog posts aren't all encompassing, so check them out, and definitely let me know if you have any questions about any of these destination wedding venues or planners!
Actually, feel free to contact me if you have questions about anything destination related!
No matter where we have to travel (which, I love to do BTW), I want to be your wedding photographer.
Hey, Kindred Spirit!
I love a tropical climate!
My rescue fur baby, Freya!
A: You're romantic, adventurous at heart, and so excited to get married! You care about real life experiences, and sharing them with your loved ones. So naturally, a destination wedding is the way you want to go! There are so many incredible destinations and gorgeous wedding venues at each. So how would you go about choosing one? Well, I'd recommend to start with setting your budget. The great thing about destination weddings is that wether you want to get married in the heart of a unique city or somewhere outside in tranquility, there is going to be a great venue and location in your budget! So - start with your finances. See what you can realistically afford without pushing your budget too far. After all, your destination location is only a small portion of your overall wedding budget. You still need money left over for a venue, catering, photography, hair & makeup, decor, transportation, and all the other awesome things. Thankfully, you can actually save by choosing to have a destination wedding! So once you've set your budget, start thinking about what fits the best with your personality, your guests and how important it is to you that they all are able to make it, and what's going to give you the wedding you've always dreamed about. Then after you've taken all of that into consideration, have a look at the Top 10 Destination wedding locations that I've curated and listed above.
Tips and Advice
A: Yes, they definitely can be expensive. But, not always! That said, there are a few things to take into consideration regarding your budget. The first thing to remember is that if your destination is going to be international (or cross-country), most of your guest list won't be able to make it. This can be disappointing, but it is also helpful, since less people means less of your budget spent on the guest count. Additionally, choosing flora and other decor that is local to your destination will help cut down on import costs for these elements. Finally, most vendors offer payment plans (I know I do). Now, I must stress that you should not stretch your budget so far on traveling and a wedding venue that you can't afford the other things that mean a lot to you. If you really want an experienced destination wedding photographer for $4500-$6500, but your venue costs $13,000-$20,000, choosing a venue that is a few thousand less will help open up that extra budget for the destination wedding photography that you've always wanted. In complete honesty, destination wedding venues and locations are super varied in pricing! Some destination locations might even be cheaper than having a wedding at home (ie. New York City vs. Mexico, or even Atlanta). So, once you've set a budget (one for travel and the other for your actual wedding) and decided what style of wedding you're looking for, you should be able to easily find a perfect venue within your budget. This will allow the rest to fall into place. I more than happy to help point you in the right direction if you are wanting some help finding the right wedding location, venue, or vendors for you, your personality, and your budget! Just use the contact form on my website.
A: This is a great question! To be honest, you'll have an easier time in some locations finding a fine art film photographer that meets your needs. In other locations, it may become a lot more difficult (or even seemingly impossible). Especially when you talk into account dealing with language barriers, customs, traditions, and level of customer and luxury service. Most importantly, you want to take into account the level of quality. When you choose to have a destination wedding, its very tempting to hire the in-house resort photographer at the venue or hotel you're staying at. But, I can’t stress this enough… compare the work and consistency of the resort photographer to that of a destination wedding photographer (such as myself). Now, compare the style of the photography and artistry. Take a close look at the color quality and timelessness of the photographs. Then pay attention to the level of customer service and personal attention you may receive. And compare the level of trust you have in each of your photography options. Seriously, compare everything. Chances are, you're having a destination wedding because you care about having real experiences. And you don't want to miss out of beautiful memories of these unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences with your favorite people. So, at the end of it all, I know you will be happy that you chose to work with me at J.J. Au'Clair for your destination wedding!
A: The greatest part about having a destination wedding is actually YOU. Confused? I know, just stick with me for a moment. Destination weddings are all about the experience, right? They can only be fun, relaxing, and everything you've ever dreamed if you allow it. Planning a destination wedding requires a lot of trust, and a mindset of just letting some things be. You'll want to fully trust in the team you've chosen to help you plan your once-in-a-lifetime event! So once you've decided the style of wedding you want and the location, choosing incredible vendors who are experienced with destination weddings will be crucial. You can't replace an excellent wedding planner who's familiar with destination wedding logistics, locations, and vendors. And you don't want to be without a destination wedding photographer who is versatile, with over 10 years of experience, and comfortable traveling for your wedding!
A: Yes, there are fees associated with destination weddings, but they’re not outrageous! Just get in contact with me about your wedding. If you include the location, date, and the other basics in my contact form, then I can show you what our options are. I’m very flexible and easy to work with, and I’m so ready to meet you somewhere exciting! That being said, check in with me about travel dates. I travel regularly and may already be traveling to the area for your wedding date or engagement session! I'm happy to not charge travel fees if its somewhere I'm already going.
If you're ready to make magic together, contact me to get started! I'm excited to be your destination wedding photographer.
"We LOVED working with Janelle for our wedding photography. While creative and artistic, the shots are not too trendy and will stand the test of time. She was very attentive to our desires and planning, and even helped us out with our flowers. We will cherish her work for years to come and would gladly hire her again. We feel as though she really captured the mood of our wedding and the nature of our relationship. It was a wonderful experience!”
- Hayley and Bryce
I met with Janelle before obtaining her services for my Wedding at Agnes Scott. I was a fan of her work... , but after our meeting, I was a fan of her as a person; She's a great listener, honest collaborator, highly professional and just all around a nice and very friendly. After getting the photos back from her, my husband, friends and family were all just gobsmacked by the quality of the photos... If you want a warm, friendly, and crazy-talented photographer to capture your special day/occasion with all of the elegance and vibrancy of life it deserves, please give Janelle a holler.
- Joan and Max
“ ...From the time of our first meeting, the walk thru, & up until the big day Janelle was such a pleasure to work with! It was all a seamless process. I can tell how serious she takes her work and she listens to every detail you want captured on your day... Would definitely recommend J.J. Au'Clair & hope to work with her again in the future!”
- Steely and Paul
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